"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Sunday, November 29, 2009

If You Care About Ending Sexual Assault, Girlcott Method Products

If this didn't already guarantee that I will never, ever buy a Method product, then this sure as hell does.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mr. Fox: Not So Fantastic for Girls


I went to a sneak preview of Fantastic Mr. Fox last night, and I watched it from three different points of view, all of which are probably too intertwined in my own consciousness/psyche/whatever to really separate, but for the purposes of this post, I'm going to pull them apart. I viewed this film:

1. As a lover, since childhood, of every single thing ever written by the amazing and wonderful Roald Dahl,

2. As a longtime fan of Wes Anderson, which I've been ever since Katie introduced me to Bottle Rocket back in the 90s, and

3. As a feminist.

If I was only the first two, I might be inclined to say this is one of my new favorite movies of all time. It is delightful, adorable, whimsical, hilarious, creative, and the perfect amount of weird. It is so incredibly Roald Dahl and so incredibly Wes Anderson at the same time that the fangirl in me wants to do cartwheels over it.

But, I'm also a feminist. And especially after just spending the last two weeks teaching college undergrads in my Women's Studies 101 class all about the representation of female characters in pop culture, hitting on everything from The Smurfette Principle to the Bechdel Test, I can't help but be a little devastated that this movie completely and utterly 100% drops the ball when it comes to female characters. If you go see it, you'll know what I mean. It's just disappointment after disappointment, and when there's a tiny glimmer of hope in one or two spots, the rug is immediately pulled out from under any possibility of redemption.

I guess Dahl is partly to blame, since the original book didn't have much in the way of female characters, either. But if you look at his body of work, plenty of his stories have interesting and adventurous female characters. (Matilda and the BFG are two of my favorites.) I'm more disappointed that Anderson, in building an entire full-length feature around a short children's story and in interpreting and developing Dahl's characters and creating characters of his own, didn't think give a second thought to girls. What's funny is that if this had been one of Anderson's regular live-action films, I wouldn't have been surprised or let down by its failure to inspire my inner-feminist. I never necessarily expect that from him. But you know as well as I do that this film is different, because unlike Rushmore and unlike The Darjeeling Limited, children are inevitably going to see this movie.

There were lots and lots of kids at the sneak preview, and I'm sure there will be lots of lots of kids who will see this movie, and even though everyone seems to think that ANIMATION = CHILDREN'S FILM, if I had kids, I wouldn't let them see it. It's not good for girls, who will be disappointed yet again that they only get to see themselves as housewives, caregivers, and love interests, and it's not good for boys either, for whom it will be reinforced that action and adventure are for them only.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Vintage Ad(s) of the Day: Secretary Edition



Saturday, November 21, 2009

When Female Vulnerability is the Best Way to Sell a Message

Via AdFreak, a commercial in which "pervy scrubbing bubbles" watch you bathe:

This ad caused me severe discomfort. And not in the "I'm so convinced not to spray soapy chemicals in my shower, now" way, but in the "I am so fucking pissed they had the nerve to prey on women's vulnerability to the oppressive male gaze to try to sell me a product way".

Friday, November 20, 2009

Quote of the Day:

"Men who genuinely love women fantasize about being smothered in sofa-sized breasts and pillowed in marshmallow thighs. Pert is okay but pneumatic is heaven. Not for them the bite-size morsel. They revel in handfuls, fistfuls, and armfuls of lusty lady. Of course, millions of men don't like women very much. They only tolerate us emaciated, depilated, and deodorized. Men who count your calories and stand over you with a stopwatch while you do sit-ups invariably claim to be doing it for your own good. Baloney! They're simply closet woman-haters -- flesh-fearing, fat-baiting misogynists. They don't lust for me. The repugnance is mutual."
--Vanessa Feltz, "Who Says Fat Isn't Sexy?" Redbook (of all places!) December, 1993

(quoted in Revolting Bodies? The Struggle to Redefine Fat Identity by the amazing Kathleen LeBesco)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Vintage Ad of the Day


Text reads:
A cigar brings out the caveman in you.

There's a man-size feeling of power in smoking a cigar. Because cigars give you a psychological lift along with flavor and satisfaction. You needn't inhale to enjoy them . . . and no other pleasure so great costs so little. Try a few cigars today and . . .Get that good cigar feeling!

Umm, yeah. So only men can smoke cigars. And when they do, they become "cavemen", in which "cavemen" means men in business suits with clubs and women dressed in animal prints at their feet.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Vintage Ad of the Day

Perfect for when your culture makes you wear restrictive dresses and deems it inappropriate for you to ever open your legs!


Text reads:

for making seats that let you step out like a lady!

What a relief to step out, instead of having to crawl out, of your car. No more hiked up skirts. No more popping runs. The '59 De Soto's new Sports Swivel Seats let anyone -- tall or short -- slip in and out in one easy motion.

Being a woman, you'll appreciate De Soto interiors, too. They're as smartly styled as your own living room. And everyone will like De Soto's magnificent ride... roominess... and power. See the fashion leader of the year at your De Soto dealer's today. Try the new swivel seats yourself!